DEVELOPMENT OF A RETRAINING PROGRAMME FOR ARTISANS IN BLOCKLAYING AND CONCRETING IN LAGOS STATE
Background of the Study
The building construction industry plays a vital role in economic growth and development of infrastructures globally. Agbo (2008) described the building industry as a construction firm specializing in the construction of all types of buildings: residential, recreational, industrial, churches, mosque, offices, schools, hospital buildings among others with service of professionals, technicians and operatives. Lagos State Gross Domestic Product (LSGDP) Survey (2010) referred to the construction industry to encompass the establishment engaged in the erection of physical structure, residential and non-residential buildings as well as wide range of construction works involving structural, civil and allied activities. The building construction industry comprises the following trades namely: carpentry and joinery, painting and decoration, plumbing, tiling, blocklaying and concreting among others.
Blocklaying and concreting is a trade, involved with the erection of buildings. Udofia, Ibritam and Owen (2014) described blocklaying and concreting as laying of blocks using mortar as binder in a systematic manner called bonding to form the walls of a building, while concreting requires the use of fresh concrete (mixture of specified proportion of cement, gravel, sand and water)to form the foundation, beam, lintel or arch, pillar and other structural parts of the building that requires the use of concrete. Blocklaying and concreting adopt the use of skills and techniques in accomplishing given tasks in mixing of mortars by hand, moulding of blocks, laying of blocks, rendering of walls, wall tiling, pointing to walls and laying of curved walls. It also involves workability and slump tests on concrete, placing of concrete, application of admixture to concrete, compaction, curing of concrete and fixing of concrete materials. Odu (2012) stated that blocklaying and concreting operations are based on actual jobs and not pseudo jobs. In the context of this study blocklaying and concreting therefore refers to the use of skills and techniques to lay blocks in mortar to construct walls of different types and shapes; setting out buildings; finishes to walls and floors; concreting works such as mixing, placing, spreading, compacting, finishing and curing of concrete to form the structural part of buildings like columns, foundation, beams among others using hand tools and automated machinery for the erection of buildings.
Erection of a new building demands the composition of a construction team. Denis (1995) explained that the construction team describes the builders who put up the building. This team consists of main contractor, sub contractors, estimator, surveyor, contract supervisor, site agent, general foreman, trades foreman, trades people, apprentices and labor. Ezeji and Onoh (2008) explained that to construct a new building involves the client, the design team headed by the architect and the construction team headed by the registered builder. The construction work is carried out by the contractor; the contractor supervises the contract manager, general foreman, trade site foreman, group leader, time keeper, and other craftsmen. The authors explained further that the man in charge of building operation on site is known by many names.
The use of names like site agent, general foreman, and trades foreman are now obsolete. Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) (2004) now uses the following names as: builders, provisional builders, building technologist, building technician and building craftsman. The builder is a trained B.Sc. or B.Tech graduate in building or a holder of Higher National Diploma in Building plus Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria CORBON accredited Post Graduate Diploma in Building.
For the erection of buildings, the National Building code (2006) stipulated that the builder is responsible for managing the execution of the building works, the supervision of artisans and tradesman and finds solution to technical problems on project sites. The site agent now known and called as the building supervisor, organizes the construction work on one or more sites, controls them and carries out measurement of quantities. The building supervisor is usually a qualified engineer or qualified in building construction or occasionally would have been promoted from the position of general foreman which is now known as the craftsman.
The craftsmen work closely with the artisans on the construction site. Craftsmen according to the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) (1998) are skilled labour men that possess practical skills and scientific knowledge and attitude relating to his trade. The Technical College trains craftsmen, who work with the artisans on the building construction site, during which they manage, train, explain processes, procedures, demonstrate methods of work and how to carry out task to artisans.
An artisan is a skilled manual worker, who uses hands, mind and heart in performing skilled work. According to Mooko and Aina (2007), artisans are those who have acquired skills and knowledge through Vocational training, which can be formally or informally, perform skilled work with their hands, they are involved in all kinds of occupations namely: blocklaying, bricklaying, carpentry and plumbing among others. Some artisans possess low education and some do not, some cannot work without supervision. Artisans in blocklaying and concreting therefore can be regarded as skilled workers with skills, knowledge of methods of work, processes, procedures and techniques in blocklaying and concreting works. Most artisans in Lagos State are trained through apprenticeship system.
The apprenticeship system of training that produced most of the artisans in blocklaying and concreting is characterized according to Adekola (2013) by no established curriculum, the extent of skill, knowledge and expertise acquired also depended on how much the master himself knows. No standard regulation guides the apprentice system of training process except what the master craftsman sets. The emphasis of the apprenticeship system of training is on learning and not teaching process. During training the apprenticeship training the artisans only learn through observation; imitation, and by the trial and error method which lack use of training facilities and systematic evaluation techniques. Hence, these artisans need retraining in blocklaying and concreting construction skill processes to meet the housing needs in Lagos State.
Lagos State remains under the burden of shortage of housing even though it has the largest allocation of 2,195, 842 of the Nigeria’s total 28, 187, 085 housing units (Aladekomo, 2012). Housing is one of the challenges facing the Lagos Mega City Project that the government is presently transforming to provide adequate housing need for its ever increasing population. The state land mass is 0.4% of the total land mass of Nigeria, a littoral state, in which its topography invariably takes that of a typical coastal community and has many swampy places. In spite of the challenges of inadequate housing, the state is faced with the challenges of poor quality work finish and building collapse, growth of slums, inadequate infrastructures in terms of the need to upgrade and construct new drainage channels, roads and bridges, waste management issues (Jeje, 2013).